Hi Is This Normal,

I’ve had my daughter for a month now and…well, she’s just a thing. Like this blob. That I just have to do everything for with zero reward. I’m so mortified to say it, but I don’t get it. I’m not feeling that way. I’m waiting to fall madly in love but honestly every day feels like another date with someone I’m just not that into. I know this is like absolutely “taboo” and not the way to feel and I would never admit it to anyone, but is this normal? And what do I do?

Taboo

 

Dear Taboo,

I distinctly remember the first moment I laid eyes on my oldest, right after she was born. I’d carried her and birthed her and had this romanticized notion of motherhood, that I would look at her and we would lock eyes and fall madly and deeply in love. I gazed down at this squirming little human and thought, “Ew.” It was weeks before motherhood felt less like a job and more like a journey. You’re right – right now, she’s just a blob. It’s like trying to bond with or fall in love with a living potato at this stage. She doesn’t do much. It’s not super exciting or stimulating. Right now, you’re tasked with keeping her alive and thriving, and it can feel very mundane and boring and not at all rewarding.

I wish more moms would admit (to themselves and others) that the early weeks of motherhood are not always beautiful and meaningful and wondrous. It’s absolutely normal (seriously, many people have confided in us about this very feeling!), and no mom should ever feel ashamed or embarrassed by feeling a bit let down by it in the beginning.

But don’t take it from me – Dr. Catherine Birndorf, a clinical psychiatrist and the co-founder of The Motherhood Center, works with new mothers every single day, and she’s here to tell you that YOU are doing just fine, mama. Here’s her take on your question:

Taboo? How about totally normal. Again, I can’t tell you how many friends and patients have told me exactly the same thing. They too have been embarrassed to say it for fear of sounding like a bad mother, but this is no reflection of your love for or connection to the baby which can take time as you get to know each other. Becoming a mother is a process, it doesn’t happen overnight. You are describing a very common experience that happens to many of us. Try not to be too hard on yourself for the things you don’t feel YET. It will come, and you will figure out your version of motherhood over time. I’ve always thought it was a lot to ask of a new mother to fall madly in love with someone she’s never met. You don’t know their preferences, their style, their personality. Your job is to keep them alive, with all the basics. But your love for them will grow and deepen over time as you get to know them.

Releasing you from the ‘unforbidden’ normal thoughts,

Is This Normal

 

The Motherhood Center, provides supportive services for new and expecting moms, including a range of treatment options for women suffering from perinatal mood and anxiety disorders. Whether you are looking for a support group for new mothers, lactation consultation, individual therapy or more intensive services to help you feel better, The Motherhood Center offers something to every woman making the transition to parenthood. Staffed by experienced professionals, they take an interdisciplinary approach to tackling pre- and post-natal care, PMADs, and everything in between.

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